The World Wide Web

On this Day:

On April 30, 1989 the World Wide Web (WWW) is first launched in the public domain by CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee.

The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is the world’s dominant software platform. It is an information space where documents and other web resources can be accessed through the Internet using a web browser. The Web has changed people’s lives immeasurably. It is the primary tool billions of people worldwide use to interact on the Internet.

Web resources may be any type of downloadable media. Web pages are documents interconnected by hypertext links formatted in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The HTML syntax displays embedded hyperlinks with URLs, which permits users to navigate to other web resources. In addition to text, web pages may contain references to images, video, audio, and software components, which are either displayed or internally executed in the user’s web browser to render pages or streams of multimedia content. Web applications are web pages that function as application software.

Multiple web resources with a common theme and usually a common domain name make up a website. Websites are stored in computers that are running a web server, which is a program that responds to requests made over the Internet from web browsers running on a user’s computer. Website content can be provided by a publisher or interactively from user-generated content. Websites are provided for a myriad of informative, entertainment, commercial, and governmental reasons.

The Web was originally conceived as a document management system. The information in the Web is transferred via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to be accessed by users through software applications.


Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while working at CERN. In 1990, he developed the foundation for the Web- HTTP, HTML, the WorldWideWeb browser, a server, and the first website in order to manage documentation. The browser was released outside CERN to other research institutions starting in January 1991, and then to the general public in August 1991. The Web was a success at CERN, and began to spread to other scientific and academic institutions. Within the next two years, there were 50 websites created.

CERN announced in 1993 that use of the Web protocol and code would be available royalty free. After the NCSA released Mosaic later that year, the Web became very popular with thousands of websites springing up in less than a year. Mosaic was a graphical browser that could display inline images and submit forms, and HTTPd, a server that could process forms. In 1994, Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark founded Netscape and released Navigator which introduced Java and JavaScript to the Web. It quickly became the dominant browser. In 1995, Netscape had a very successful IPO which triggered a frenzy for the Web and started the dot-com bubble. Microsoft responded by developing their own browser, Internet Explorer. By bundling it with Windows, it became the dominant browser for 14 years.

Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which created XML in 1996 and recommended replacing HTML with stricter XHTML. In the meantime, developers began exploiting an IE feature called XMLHttpRequest to make Ajax applications and launched the Web 2.0 revolution. Mozilla, Opera, and Apple rejected XHTML and created the WHATWG which developed HTML5. In 2009, the W3C conceded and abandoned XHTML and in 2019, ceded control of the HTML specification to the WHATWG.

The World Wide Web has been central to the development of the Information Age and is the primary tool billions of people use to interact on the Internet.


The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used without much distinction. However, the two terms do not mean the same thing. The Internet is a global system of computer networks interconnected through telecommunications and optical networking. In contrast, the World Wide Web is a global collection of documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URIs. Web resources are accessed using HTTP or HTTPS, which are application-level Internet protocols that use the Internet’s transport protocols.

Viewing a web page on the World Wide Web normally begins either by typing the URL of the page into a web browser or by following a hyperlink to that page or resource. The web browser then initiates a series of background communication messages to fetch and display the requested page. In the 1990s, using a browser to view web pages—and to move from one web page to another through hyperlinks—came to be known as ‘browsing,’ ‘web surfing’ (after channel surfing), or ‘navigating the Web’. Early studies of this new behaviour investigated user patterns in using web browsers. One study, for example, found five user patterns: exploratory surfing, window surfing, evolved surfing, bounded navigation and targeted navigation.

First, a Story:

I wonder what my parents did to fight boredom before the internet?

I asked my 18 brothers and sisters and they don’t know either.

Second, a Song:

TED-Ed is a YouTube channel from Ted which creates short animated educational videos. It also has its own website. TED-Ed lessons are created in collaboration with educators and animators. Current advisers for Ted-Ed lessons include Aaron Sams, Jackie Bezos, John Hunter, Jonathan Bergmann, Melinda French Gates, and Sal Khan. It has over 14.7 million subscribers and over 2.6 billion views as of September 2021 (per Wikipedia).

TED Ed presents a video: “What is the world wide web?” – a lesson by Twila Camp. I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“The Google algorithm was a significant development. I’ve had thank-you emails from people whose lives have been saved by information on a medical website or who have found the love of their life on a dating website.” – Tim Berners-Lee

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Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2022 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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